BUSSATO, Marco Giardino d’agricoltura

Venice, Sebastiano Combi, 1612


4to. ff. (viii) 82 (i), lacking final blank. Roman letter, with Italic. Woodcut printer’s device to t-p, 19 full-page woodcut illustrations of plants, instruments and horticultural occupations within typographic frame, decorated initials, head- and tailpieces. T-p a little soiled, light waterstaining to upper gutter of a few ll., occasionally to outer or lower margins, some ll. a bit thumbed, a few lightly browned, small worm trails to lower inner corners and at gutter of a few gatherings, just touching the odd letter. A good copy in contemporary vellum (holed) over pasteboards, spine slightly loose but sound.

Good copy of the fourth, enlarged and most complete edition of this successful work on horticulture. Born in Ravenna, Marco Bussato (or Bussati, fl.1570-1600) led an obscure life, working as an itinerant expert of arboreal grafting in the countryside of the Romagna region. A manual based on his experience, ‘Giardino d’agricoltura’ presented horticulture as an art of which its readers would learn the ‘fine secrets’. The focus is on the growth of fruit trees, with a few excursions into the cultivation of cereals, the production of wine, breeding pigeons, and other country activities. After discussing the planting, pruning and grafting of sundry kinds of plants in orchards and gardens as well as the tricks of the trade, Bussato provides a ‘lunario perpetuo’ or almanac subdividing horticultural activities according to the phases of the moon during the month in which they should be carried out. The handsome woodcuts are the same as in previous editions, some re-cut after those originally prepared for the first edition published under a different title in Ravenna in 1578.

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